Andrew Usher, with his brother John, inherited his father’s whisky business. They developed it into a worldwide concern. The taste for whisky grew enormously in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and the Ushers took advantage of this demand, improving transport, and storing whisky from both Edinburgh and the Highlands in their warehouses at St Leonards in Edinburgh. Andrew gifted the sum of £100,000 to the Lord Provost and City of Edinburgh Council to build a hall where “concerts, recitals, or other entertainments or performances of a musical nature” could be performed. This was, of course, the Usher Hall, designed and built by Stockdale Harrison & Howard H Thomson of Leicester, who, in 1911, won the bid against over 100 rivals.
Andrew was born on 5th January 1826, the third son of Andrew Usher and Margaret Balmer. His brothers, Thomas and John, are also buried in the Grange Cemetery. Andrew married Elizabeth Langmuir Miller and they had six children. Elizabeth died in June 1876. Three years later Andrew married Marion Blackwood Murray, with whom he had another two children. Andrew died in 1898, two years after his donation to the city, so did not live to see the Hall built.
Four of Andrew’s children are buried with him: George Miller (1855-1858), Andrew (1853-1858), Margaret Balmer (1857-1859) and Howard Graham (1866-1890). His wives, Elizabeth (1826-1876) and Marion (1847-1925) are also remembered.
- A History of the Usher Family in Scotland, http://tweedbank.info/files/A%20History%20Of%20The%20Usher%20Family%20in%20Scotland.pdf